William Forsythe, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Institute of Contemporary Art
  • William Forsythe, City of Abstracts, 2000, installation view, ICA, Boston, 2019. Photo: Liza Voll © William Forsythe, courtesy of the artist & Gagosian, New York.
  • William Forsythe, The Differential Room, 2018, installation view, ICA, Boston, 2019. Photo: Liza Voll © William Forsythe, courtesy of the artist
  • William Forsythe, The Fact of Matter, 2009, installation view, ICA, Boston, 2019. Photo: Liza Voll © William Forsythe, courtesy of the artist & Gagosian, New York
  • William Forsythe, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 3, 2015, installation view, ICA, Boston, 2019. Photo: Liza Voll © William Forsythe, courtesy of Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt Am Main, the artist & Gagosian, New York

William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
October 31, 2018 – February 21, 2019

Contemporary art museums often face the difficult task of developing exhibitions that cater to multiple publics. Striving for intellectual rigor and cultural relevance while succumbing to the overwhelming pressures of entertainment capital and divertissement, curators and educators alike seek to strike a balance between ticket sales and critical content — with mixed results. William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston avoids the traps of this era of consumer driven, spectacle inducing blockbuster exhibitions. Cataloguing almost twenty years of installations, films, and sculptures produced by the American-born choreographer William Forsythe (b. 1949), the exhibition is a stirring invitation to participate in the experience of transposing principles of dance off the stage and into the gallery. Witty and humorous, self-reflexive, and conceptually rich, Forsythe’s Choreographic Objects are easily accessible pathways into a surprisingly complex universe.

According to Forsythe, Choreographic Objects are a set of problems and relationships, a “combination of perceptual systems,” that foster embodied action-based knowledge. From the outset of the exhibition, the audience is invited to take part in the work — to become kinesthetically aware through the choreographer’s various propositions. In City of Abstracts (2000), a video-software that projects a delayed, out-of-sync version of the audience’s live actions onto a wall, performances emerge out of everyday gestures. With this work, from the start of the exhibition laughter and complicity override awkward self-consciousness. Choreography becomes a tangible product of space and movement, but more poignantly it is immediately rendered physically accessible. In Antipodes I / II (2006), a two-channel video in which Forsythe uses his ballet training to be seen defying gravity by creating impossible spatial arrangements, a sense of play nourishes the imagination. The suspension of the laws of nature, or the desire to make them visible through various corporeal arrangements, is a recurring motif. This is the case in Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 3 (2013), an installation in which the audience is invited to move through a room filled with moving pendulums while trying not to come into contact with them. As with all of the Choreographic Objects, Forsythe’s material/spatial score gives rise to countless performances, filled with unforeseen outcomes, failures, and perspectives.

While not all of the works featured in William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects might inspire the same wonder and enjoyment, the overall experiential world proposed by the exhibition resonated with its audience. The enthusiasm of children giggling while trying to traverse a room using only suspended rings in The Fact of Matter (2009) was as infectious as the focus of adults earnestly contemplating the instruction-based scores in The Differential Room (2018) before attempting to execute each assignment. By bringing principles of dance and choreography into the realm of contemporary visual art, Forsythe moves — and urges us to move — where others have simply chosen to sit and contemplate silently.

Artistes: 

Subscribe to the Newsletter

 Retrouvez nous sur Twitter !Retrouvez nous sur Facebook !Retrouvez nous sur Instagram !

Publications



Archives


Features



Shop



esse arts + opinions

Postal address
C.P. 47549,
Comptoir Plateau Mont-Royal
Montréal (Québec) Canada
H2H 2S8

Office address
2025 rue Parthenais, bureau 321
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H2K 3T2

E. : revue@esse.ca
T. : 1 514-521-8597
F. : 1 514-521-8598